Raising Conscious Children: Balancing Growing Up and Waking Up
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“My child needs to grow up!”
Your child needs to wake up.
This is my response to parents who confuse “growing up” with “waking up”.
And I don’t mean they need to become “woke”! I mean waking up to life’s truths their well-meaning parents tend to (over)protect them from.
- Life’s not fair.
- Participation medals, like Santa Claus, exist only for children.
- Achievement is not a guarantee of happiness.
- Money is a result of creating a product or service others find valuable AND are willing to pay for.
- You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.
- Your emotions should not decide your actions.
- At some point in life, bills must be paid — by YOU!
- Graduating from a top school is only an entrance fee to get to the start line.
- No one’s coming to save you.
Growing up is easy. It just happens. At sixteen when I launched my first business, I looked, dressed and acted very grown up.
Photo credit: Los Angeles Blade, Circa 1991
Today, when I look at pictures of myself in my 20’s and 30’s, I am quite awestruck by the excellent performance of being a grown up that I put on for the world!
I dare say that I didn’t “wake up” to life until I was in my 40’s. That’s why I receive my young adult clients with so much admiration! They may not be fully awake yet, but at least they are aware and committed to changing the situation. Had I done the same work in my 20’s and 30’s, I would have gained so much more out of this finite time on the planet.
As I began to wake up, over time and through committed coaching, I started to realize that:
- I and only I am responsible for my life.
- My parents have always done their best for me just as I’m doing my best for my children.
- The belief that a specific life was promised or owed to me is wrong.
- My decisions decide my life.
- My identity in the world is created by who I am being, not what I say.
- I get one life and if I fuck it up or make it worthwhile, that’s on me.
- Fear, doubt and anxiety are features, not bugs, of living an intentional life.
- The world is on my side, but only if I let it.
While “growing up” is conventionally measured by tangible accomplishments and a linear sequence of events such as birth, education, career, marriage, children and so on, “waking up” is measured by our ability to transcend and transform. It is determined by our capacity to evolve, often marked by internal progressions that are experienced silently and on an emotional level.
If “growing up” travels along a horizontal line, “waking up” travels along a vertical line. At the bottom of the vertical line are emotions such as:
As we wake up and start to take radical ownership of our own life, we begin to experience more anabolic and positive emotions, such as:
In my many years of working professionally with young adults as well as raising two of my own, here’s one thing I know for sure — to see our children grow in size and achievements without expanding their consciousness is equivalent to dining at a three star Michelin restaurant without the ability to taste any of the food.
We need to teach them to wake up along with growing up.